Annual Erskine Childers Lecture 2010
Discussion paper by Vijay Mehta
President, VM Centre for Peace Chair,
What is the world’s greatest challenge in the new millennium? Without little doubt, that the greatest challenge we face is the growing chasm between the rich and the poor people on earth. There is not only a great disparity between the two, but the gap is steadily widening. At the beginning of the last century, the ten richest countries were nine times wealthier than the ten poorest ones. In 1960, the ratio was 30:1. At the beginning of this century, average income per person in the twenty richest nations was $27,591 and in the poorest nations only $211, a ratio of 131:1. To plug the widening gap between rich-poor divide, the billions who live on dollar a day need the assistance of international community to fulfil the promise of the completion of Millennium Development Goals* for a better world.
In 2000, world leaders agreed by 2015 goals for slashing poverty, hunger, disease, maternal and child deaths, and for improving the environment, education and gender equality.
Lack of political will and unmet commitments, inadequate finance (staggering shortfall of billions of dollars) and soaring food prices have become major hurdles in the progress of the MDGs. In fact an estimated 90 million more people are living in extreme poverty today than anticipated before financial crisis. Millions of people who were not part of the financial collapse and did nothing wrong are suffering extreme hardship.
The ten-year mark at 2010 presents an important opportunity to re-energize the global Millennium Development Goals (MDG) effort and help the poverty reduction become a reality.
14th June 2010
We held a local Women's Federation for World Peace - Universal Peace Federation event in Birmingham to recognize the United Nation's Day for Africa. Over 100 people came together, with representatives from 12 different African countries present.Our first speaker was Rev Charles Ilunga, currently training for the Methodist ministry. He graphically described the horrors which he witnessed and experienced in Congo, and from which he and his family had to flee at barely a moments’ notice.
On the occasion of Africa Day, May 25th, 2010, the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) extends its congratulations and best wishes to the African Union and all its member states, and the 900 million people of Africa. As well as celebration, Africa Day is an opportunity to reflect on the challenges and opportunities facing Africa and the world as we move into the second decade of this new millennium.
New York, United States - Speaking at the New York City celebration of Africa Day, May 25, 2010 hosted by the African Union and the United Nations African Ambassadors' Spouses Group (UNAASG), in partnership with the Universal Peace Federation, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that peace and sustainable development in Africa was one of the world body’s priorities, and outlined a major personal effort that will take him to the continent no less than three times in the coming month.
Earlier, messages marking the 47th Africa Day and the 50th Anniversary of independence for 17 African nations were read on behalf of the President of the UN General Assembly by H.E. Mr. Michel Tommo Monthe, Ambassador of Cameroon, Vice-President of the General Assembly and Chair of the Africa Group for the month of May (photo below).
Kathmandu, Nepal - A new book written by Dr. Robert S. Kittel entitled 'Two Paths to Peace' is a case study highlighting the role which the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) in Nepal has played, and continues to play, in helping peace return to the Land of Buddha.
It was presented to the Hon. Nilamber Acharya, Chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the Constituent Assembly on April 12, 2010. A total of 70 books were given to the committee at a program organized at the Parliament Secretariat. The book also offers insights into UPF Founders, Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, and documents the contributions of their visits to Nepal and the initiatives they inspired to the peace process in Nepal from 2005 to 2009. Buy or Download Book Report by UPF Nepal.
A Remember Africa Award was presented to Robin Marsh, Secretary General of Universal Peace Federation-UK at a ceremony held at the Royal Commonwealth Society on May 22nd, 2010 for services rendered for the cause of uplifting and developing people of Africa.
Caritas Baby Hospital, Bethlehem has long been a favourite place for the Universal Peace Federation’s Middle East Peace Initiative to visit. On Thursday April 15th there was an appeal made by Daniel Hurter and Andreas Bachofner of Children’s Relief Bethlehem UK during the Joint Faiths' Celebration.
Daniel Hurter introduced a heartwarming 7 minute video of the work of Children’s Relief Bethlehem which finances and manages the Caritas Baby Hospital. (This can be seen by the video link. For further information please see link.) They provide medical care for all children regardless of race, religion or ability to pay, together with health education and other projects to benefit families in this troubled region of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
For more information please visit www.childrens-relief-bethlehem.org.uk